Artist Eero Saarinen’s endearing list of his wife’s good qualities, circa 1954, from Explore.

There is a difference between liking someone as a teenager and liking someone in your twenties; one that goes beyond age. The thrill of discovery (like kissing under a bridge…) is different once you’ve been dragged through the mud of life, even just a little. Falling in love is different after you’ve carted away the remains of your first long-term relationship. It’s not a matter of authenticity, especially if authenticity is a matter of belonging to a moment. It’s just something else that guarantees our faith and adds value. Maybe it’s the whole idea of something still being able to surprise you. Maybe it’s the pleasant reminder that you are, after all, in your twenties and still young.

And yet, this is the age that we love with one foot out the door and collect bad dates and half-assed relationships like we collect shoes. But I’ve already acknowledged how ridiculous this whole habit of collecting shoes is.

I never know how to react when people I respect tell me they collect women (or men, I have seen it). Or that they compartmentalize between the girl they talk to and the girl they fuck and the girl they marry (and where does this leave the girl they kill?). It’s a cross between wanting to eat my own spleen and wanting so, so badly to understand what’s the driver. And still, got nothing. Can you say you were expecting something when you don’t know what to expect?

Advertisements